How to write a formal speech

By | April 9, 2021


Decide the subject if you have not already been assigned. Choose a slash within the subject that you are comfortable with. This makes it easier to write an effective piece.


Create a time frame for the speech. Just because you have 30 minutes to do the speech does not mean you have to take it all the time. Use only the time needed to deliver a solid presentation.


Do your research. Even if the topic is something you are familiar with, do not assume that you have all the answers. Research to develop new angles or update statistics.


Describe the main points of the speech. As a minimum, an overview must contain an introduction, body, conclusion and invitation to action, if appropriate.


Decide how to open the speech. Consider asking a question with a shocking statistic or quoting a famous quote. It is imperative to get the audience’s immediate attention. If you lose them in the beginning, it is often difficult to get them back. Do not forget to thank those who invited you and the audience you address.

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Consider giving a summary of the areas you will cover. If this information can be shared rather than delivered orally, it often works better. But if not, it’s a good idea to let the audience know where you are going with your comments.


Choose the verbiage that is on the average audience. There is nothing that people hate more than speakers trying to talk over their heads. You will lose them immediately and undermine the valuable knowledge you may need to share.


Scores points that are important to the audience. For example, if you are delivering a political speech, talk about the topics that are important to the public at that time.


Back up what you say. Never make wild accusations or state statistics that cannot be verified. Make notes of everything. This will be important if questions are asked. Always keep your references handy.


Write, rewrite and rewrite if necessary. Practice the speech aloud between paraphrases until you are happy with how it flows and how you present it. Consider making notes or cue cards to use during the presentation.


Screw in the blank. Again, remember to give a startling fact, a famous quote or even a call to action. The end of the speech is as important as the beginning.

Tips and warnings

  • Write the speech so that you will deliver it. It must reflect who you are in order for it to ring true. Practice the speech in front of a mirror to make sure your facial and body expressions are appropriate for what you are saying. Get copies of the speech available to those who can request one. If you are going to get visual images, make sure you clearly mark where they will be delivered in the speech and prepare them. Check out the space where the speech will be delivered ahead of time. Make sure the sound system works well if your voice does not work well.
  • Do not use slang, technical terms or industrial language that the audience may not recognize. Never use swear words in any speech, formal or otherwise. Do not promote questions. Be prepared to answer them.
  • The fear of speaking in public is one of the most common fears. Often the fear has nothing to do with being uncomfortable in front of the crowds. Whether one or 100 people are involved has little consequence. The reason is actually due to a fear of being unprepared or flubbing the delivery. Below are some tips on how to write a formal speech so that it can be delivered effectively.